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keddellBA MCApSc PGDipSocSc PhD (Otago)

Associate Professor in Social Work

Contact details

Room 6C18, Richardson Building
Tel +64 3 479 5867

My research focusses on child welfare inequalities, child protection decision-making, the politics of child protection and the use of algorithmic decision tools in child protection. I pursue a critical perspective on child protection; one that examines the intersections between structural conditions, policy contexts, systems, power and micro practice.

My practice background is in child protection social work, residential work with children, and family support social work. I have taught at the University of Otago since 2005, covering child and family social work, micro theories and skills, child protection decision-making and generalist courses.

I am a Registered Social Worker, an associate member of Child Poverty Action Group, and a founding member of the Re-Imagining Social Work blog collective. I am a member of the editorial collective of the Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work Journal, an associate editor of Qualitative Social Work, and on the editorial board of the BJSW sister journal: Practice.

Google Scholar: Emily Keddell


I co-ordinate and teach:

SOWK 201 Fields of Practice
SOWK 302 Social Work for Children and Families – Analysis and Theory
SOWK 402 / SOWK 562 Micro Intervention: Theories and Skills
SOWK 490 Dissertation
SOWK 552
Child and Family Social Work

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome approaches for supervision in the following areas:

  1. Many areas of child and family social work including: policy and systems design in the child welfare context, inequalities and the child welfare system, poverty reduction policies in the tax/benefit system, the use of predictive data analytics, decision-making and judgement, critical approaches to risk and safety, reunification and family maintenance, multiple child removal, and ethics.
  2. How people construct ethnic identities from multiple options and negotiate these in their family and social contexts.

Current and recent students

Gina Tompkins MA Human Services

Legislative changes to the Children Young persons and their Families Act

Nathan Jaquiery PhD

Stabilising factors in permanent placements for children or young people in the caresystem

Sue Whyte MSW

Self-Efficacy in Parents of Adolescents: Does attendance and completion of 'Tweens & Teens' alter parental self-efficacy?

Adele Parkinson PhD

Adult and Child Clients' Views of a COPMI* Family Support Service: A Mixed Methods Study

Monique Harvey MSW

“Baby Mama” The daily life of being a teenage parent

Monica Hannan MSW

The Impact of Notification to CYF on the NGO Client-Worker Relationship

Karlene Lee MSW

New Zealand Non Government Organisation Social Service Manager's job satisfaction, job dissatisfaction and the implications for retention

Karen Service MSW

Women's views of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale

Jan Young MSW

The Role of Mothers in Shared Care arrangements for children following relationship separation

Jude Buckingham MSP

Pre practicum service learning to enhance counsellor education


Wilkins, D., & Keddell, E. (2024). Risk perceptions and experience in child protection decision-making: A comparative study of student social workers in Wales and Aotearoa New Zealand. Children & Youth Services Review. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2024.107623 Journal - Research Article

Keddell, E., Colhoun, S., Norris, P., & Willing, E. (2024). The heuristic divergence between community reporters and child protection agencies: Negotiating risk amidst shifting sands. Children & Youth Services Review, 159, 107532. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2024.107532 Journal - Research Article

Critchley, A., & Keddell, E. (2023). Risks and representations: Creating consensus narratives about risk with pregnant women involved with child protection systems in Aotearoa New Zealand and Scotland. Critical Social Policy. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/02610183231215231 Journal - Research Article

Keddell, E., & Hyslop, I. (2023). Children, neoliberalism, and child protection. In H. Montgomery (Ed.), Oxford bibliographies: Childhood studies. Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/obo/9780199791231-0283 Chapter in Book - Research

Kokaua, J., Keddell, E., Davie, G., Aiono-Faletolu, T., & Cook, L. (2023). Child protection inequalities for Pasifika children in Aotearoa New Zealand: Diverse realities. Kōtuitui. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/1177083X.2023.2245856 Journal - Research Article

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